Winning your case is a different story....
Before your file for Social Security disability benefits, keep these things in mind:
1. Do you have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits? Have you worked at least five out of the last ten years? If you have not, then you may have to settle for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which will then take into consideration how many assets you have and the amount of income your family receives each month. If you have a spotty employment record and you are married with a spouse that works full-time, you may not qualify for either disability program.
2. Can you do some kind of job that requires sitting for the majority of the day? You really need to ask yourself whether you are really capable of performing at any job within the national economy that would allow you to sit for six hours a day with normal work breaks. If you can do any kind of job like this, and you are under the age of 50, then you will likely continue to be found not disabled.
3. Did your doctor tell you that you are disabled and unable to work? -Well, great, but you still may not win your case. First, the Social Security Administration is the only agency that can determine whether someone is disabled under their own rules. Second, it will take into consideration your doctor's opinion, but will not do so blindly. There must be sufficiently medical evidence to back-up your doctor's opinion, and you must have a long enough relationship with him or her to show his or her opinion carries weight. Even then, the Administration will take his or her opinion into consideration, but will not allow your doctor to make a final determination as to whether or not you are disabled.
4. You really need to understand what it means to be disabled. You have to have a mental or physical condition which is severe enough to keep you from returning back to a job you held within the last fifteen years and that you are unable to do any other kind of work within the national economy. If that is the case, then you just may be found disabled.
5. How old are you? How much education do you have? What kind of work skills have you obtained in the last fifteen years? Let's put it this way: (1) the younger you are, the harder it is to qualify for Social Security disability; (2) the more education you have and the more recent it has been, the harder it is to qualify; and (3) if you have worked at skilled work for the last fifteen years, the harder it is to rule out all jobs you may be able to perform at even despite your condition.
6. Don't always just be going to the doctor for treatment. You don't qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have a condition that can or cannot be cured. Sometimes, you just have to be going to the doctor so he or she can continue to document your condition(s). That is why you need medical "evidence" to prove your severe condition and not whether have the ability to become better or worse.
7. Comply with all treatment while filing for disability benefits. I can't say this enough: If you are not complying with your doctors orders, it shows you are not willing to be better and Social Security will tell you that if you don't want to get better, then you do not deserve to receive benefits. But...if you are not complying because you do not have the money to do so, the Administration will take that into consideration as well. You can't help it if you are flat broke and don't have the money for medical attention.
8. Don't do drugs...even marijuana. If your condition is because you are a past or recent or present drug addict or alcoholic, then you may be denied. But, judges don't like awarding benefits to people who abuse drugs and alcohol when there are a lot of people in this world who need disability benefits. If you do drugs, just realize it may keep you from being awarded disability benefits.
9. If you are still working while filing for disability benefits, make sure you keep your gross pay under a certain amount. If you want to know the amount, Google "Substantial Gainful Activity" for the year you are applying for benefits and continue to work. If you do go over this amount, you will be considered not disabled. Do it while you are on disability and you may find SSA coming back to you and requiring you pay back all the money you received. It is not uncommon for people to owe as much as $50,000 to $60,000 back to Social Security. Try paying that off for the rest of your life.
We hope this helps. For any claimant attempting to secure benefits within Texas and California, you may always contact our office at: (888) 780-9125.